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7 Up: Yeah, it’s Still Around [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]

It’s the clear bubbly beverage your mom would give you as a child when you had an upset stomach or fever.  7 Up is part of America, but the classic citrus soft drink which almost disappeared from stores is fighting to make a come back.

7 Up, with its lemon line flavor, was created by Charles Lepier Gregg in St. Louis.  Having great success with his Howdy Orange Drink, Gregg turned his focus to lemons and limes.  After more than 2 years and 11 different formulas, he had his drink: a caramel colored “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda.” Try selling that to a marketing agency, today!

It was released two weeks before the stock market crash of 1929, and amazingly, the drink sold well. In 1935, the color was changed to clear, and the brand name to 7 Up..  Early ads promised “Seven natural flavors blended into a savory, flavory with a real whallop.”

Vintage 7 Up bottles on display in a Seattle, Washington antique store.

Vintage 7 Up bottles on display in a Seattle, Washington antique store.

By the late 1940’s, 7 Up was the third best selling soft drink in the world!

The recipe has been reformulated multiple times since the original launch.  It once contained a mood stabilizing drug, but that was removed in the 1950s.  The latest change was in 2006, when it rebranded itself as “all natural”–although after a few law suit threats the tagline was changed. Now it contains “100% natural flavors.”

A common myth is that the name 7 Up represents the seven ingredients in the drink while another says that the ph is over 7. Both claims are untrue, and the real reason for the name is a mystery.

The 7 Up brand has changed hands several times over the years.  In 1978 it was purchased by Philip Morris (the cigarette people), before being sold to an investment group in 1986.  Two years later it was merged with Dr. Pepper before finally being bought by the Cadbury-Schweppes Corporation in 1995.  In 2008, the entire Dr. Pepper Snapple group was spun-off into their own company.

A vintage 7 Up tavern sign on a bar in Columbus, Nebraska.

A vintage 7 Up tavern sign on a bar in Columbus, Nebraska.

But, what could be found in stores, vending machines, and on old road signs seemed to virtually disappear by the late 90s.

As a kid, I used to love getting their “Countdown to Christmas” poster with the giant image of Santa enjoying a 7 Up.  Kids would glue a cotton ball onto his beard for each day in December leading up to the 25th.

Also, when I was running a fever as a child, my mother and grandmother would give me a glass of 7 Up with an aspirin to lower my temperature or to settle an upset stomach.  It always seemed to work, but those home remedies are nothing more than old wives tales.

Once we got into the 21st century, you couldn’t really find many restaurants serving it on tap.  To be honest, I can’t think of any right now.

7 up bottle7 Up has been sold in various flavors, with Cherry being the most popular in the US.

Other flavor varieties include:

Cherry 7 Up – reformulated as Cherry 7-Up Antioxidant in 2009 and will be reformulated again in 2013.

Diet Cherry 7 Up

Orange 7 Up – currently only sold in Austria

Raspberry 7 Up – currently only sold in Southeast Asia

7 Up Free – sold in the United Kingdom with no sugar, caffeine, color, or preservatives

7 Up Plus – low carb and calorie variations sold in Mixed Berry, Cherry, and Island Fruit.


The current 7 Up can design as recently purchased at a New Jersey grocery store.

The current 7 Up can design as recently purchased at a New Jersey grocery store.

Discontinued flavors include:

7 Up Gold – an unused Dr. Pepper invention, sold in 1988 with a spice flavor similar to Ginger Ale

7 Up Ice Cola – sold internationally as clear cola–it flopped in 1995

dnL – 7 Upside Down – same flavor with a green color, discontinued for the 7 Up Plus line

7 Up Tropical Splash – sold in Canada in the early 21st century


At one point 7 Up was also sold in a line of barbeque sauces along with Dr. Pepper and A & W Root Beer.  If anybody has a bottle of this – I’d love to try it!

7 Up is also a popular flavor of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans.

One of the bigger ad campaigns for the drink was the creation of the 7 Up “dots.” The red dots that appeared in the center of the logo became animated characters that would appear in a variety of commercials.  The current logo  used overseas has dropped the dot all together.


In the late 90s, one of the last great marketing blasts for the beverage included the sale of bright green t-shirts that featured “Make 7” on the front and “Up Yours” on the back.  A hilarious little piece of comedy that outraged some seeing “Up Yours” shirts walking down the street.  The ploy worked and the shirts were a big time seller. If it weren’t for a few oversensitive people, this genius campaign may have still been around today. You can still find the shirts for auction on ebay.

But, the drink that seemed to virtually disappear from the United States seems to be making a comeback.  I’ve noticed boxes and bottles of the drink returning to store shelves and I even found a 7 Up vending machine at the Four Queens casino/hotel in Las Vegas.  I haven’t seen one of those in ages!  It also distributed RC Colas!  It was like the 80s were back!


A still operating 7 Up vending machine inside the Four Queens Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

A still operating 7 Up vending machine inside the Four Queens Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

THE 411

Name: 7 Up

What: lemon lime flavor soft drink

 Sold: Worldwide


7 up bubbles

A super close up of the bubbles in a glass of 7 Up



It’s great that this drink is still around.  Many other smaller drinks from the past have come and gone, but this old family friend has stuck around.

I much prefer it over the taste of Sierra Mist or Sprite.

While Slice, another similar drink that was also popular, bit the dust… 7 Up held on and is on the way to a healthy comeback thanks to Cadbury Schweppes.  It’s a good idea to always have a couple of cans around the house.  It may not be an official health remedy, but it still makes me feel better whenever I feel sick.

After all it is and always shall be “The Uncola!”

Image credits – afiler, djwudi, Pete Zarria, & Mullenkedheim